« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
The gray barns looking from their hazy hills
O'er the dun waters widening in the vales,
Sent down the air a greeting to the mills,
On the dull thunder of alternate flails.
All sights were mellowed and all sounds subdued, The hills seemed further and the stream sang low, As in a dream the distant woodman hewed
His winter logs with many a muffled blow.
The embattled forests, erewhile armed with gold,
Their banners bright with every martial hue,
Now stood like some sad, beaten host of old,
Withdrawn afar in Time's remotest blue.
On somber wings the vulture tried his flight;
The dove scarce heard his sighing mate's complaint, And, like a star slow drowning in the light,
The village church-vane seemed to pale and faint.
The sentinel cock upon the hillside crew
Crew twice and all was stiller than before; Silent, till some replying warder blew
His alien horn, and then was heard no more.
Where erst the jay within the elm's tall crest
Made garrulous trouble round her unfledged young;
And where the oriole hung her swaying nest,
By every light wind like a censer swung;
Where sung the noisy martins of the eaves,
The busy swallows circling ever near-
Foreboding, as the rustic mind believes,
An early harvest and a plenteous year;
Where every bird that waked the vernal feast
Shook the sweet slumber from its wings at morn,
To warn the reaper of the rosy east;
All now was sunless, empty, and forlorn.
Alone, from out the stubble, piped the quail;
And croaked the crow through all the dreary gloom;
Alone, the pheasant, drumming in the vale,
Made echo to the distant cottage loom.
There was no bud, no bloom upon the bowers;
The spiders moved their thin shrouds night by night; The thistle-down, the only ghost of flowers,
Sailed slowly by-passed noiseless out of sight.
Amid all this, in this most dreary air,
And where the woodbine shed upon the porch Its crimson leaves, as if the year stood there, Firing the floor with its inverted torch;
Amid all this--the center of the scene,
The white-haired matron, with monotonous tread,
Plied the swift wheel, and with her joyless mien
Sat like a fate, and watched the flying thread.
She had known sorrow. He had walked with her,
Oft supped, and broke with her the ashen crust,
And in the dead leaves still she heard the stir
Of his thick mantle trailing in the dust.
While yet her cheek was bright with summer bloom;
Her country summoned, and she gave her all
And twice War bowed to her his sable plume-
Re-gave the sword to rest upon the wall.
Re-gave the sword, but not the hand that drew
And struck for liberty the dying blow;
Nor him who, to his sire and country true,
Fell 'mid the ranks of the invading foe.
Long, but not loud, the droning wheel went on,
Like the low murmur of a hive at noon;
Long but not loud, the memory of the gone
Breathed through her lips a sad and tremulous tone.
At last the thread was snapped-her head was bowed, Light drooped the distaff through her hand serene; And loving neighbors smoothed her careful shroud, While death and winter closed the autumn scene.
THOMAS BUCHANAN READ.
Ships at Sea.
HAVE ships that went to sea,
More than fifty years ago;
None have yet come home to me,
But are sailing to and fro.
I have seen them in my sleep,
Plunging through the shoreless deep,
With tattered sails and battered hulls,
While around them screamed the gulls,
Flying low, flying low.
I have wondered why they strayed
From me, sailing round the world;
And I've said, "I'm half afraid
That their sails will ne'er be furled."
Great the treasures that they hold,
Silks, and plumes, and bars of gold;
While the spices that they bear,
Fill with fragrance all the air,
As they sail, as they sail.
Ah! each sailor in the port
Knows that I have ships at sea,
Of the waves and winds the sport,
And the sailors pity me.
Oft they come and with me walk,
Cheering me with hopeful talk,
Till I put my fears aside,
And, contented, watch the tide
Rise and fall, rise and fall.
I have waited on the piers,
Gazing for them down the bay,
Days and nights for many years,
Till I turned heart-sick away.
But, the pilots, when they land,
Stop and take me by the hand,
Saying, "You will live to see
Your proud vessels come from sea,
One and all, one and all."
So I never quite despair,
Nor let hope or courage fail;
And some day, when skies are fair,
Up the bay my ships will sail.
I shall buy then all I need,—
Prints to look at, books to read,
Horses, wines, and works of art,—
Everything except a heart,
That is lost, that is lost.
Once, when I was pure and young,
Richer, too, than I am now,
Ere a cloud was o'er me flung,
Or a wrinkle creased my brow,
There was one whose heart was mine;
But she's something now divine,
And though come my ships from sea,
They can bring no heart to me
The Teacher Taught.
'ER wayward children wouldst thou hold firm rule,
And sun thee in the light of happy faces:
Love, Hope, and Patience, these must be the graces,
And in thy own heart let them first keep school!
For, as old Atlas on his broad neck places
Heaven's starry globe, and there sustains it, so
Do these upbear the little world below
Of education—Patience, Hope, and Love!
Methinks I see them grouped in seemly show,—
The straitened arms upraised,—the palms aslope,-
And robes that touching, as adown they flow,
Distinctly blend, like snow embossed in snow.
O part them never! If Hope prostrate lie,
Love, too, will sink and die.
But Love is subtle; and will proof derive,
From her own life, that Hope is yet alive,
And bending o'er, with soul-transfusing eyes,
And the soft murmurs of the mother dove,
Woos back the fleeting spirit, and half supplies.
Thus Love repays to Hope what Hope first gave to Love!
Yet haply there will come a weary day,
When, overtasked, at length,
Both Love and Hope beneath the load give way,
Then, with a statue's smile, a statue's strength,
Stands the mute sister, Patience,-nothing loath;
And, both supporting, does the work of both.
SAMUEL T. COLERIDGE.